Seven leading luxury hotels in the heart of the city are booked solid ahead of US President Barack Obama’s Republic Day visit. Every room is needed because the team accompanying the US President is about 2,000-strong, including security and personal staff, sources said.
An ironclad security ring is in place around the ITC Maurya, Taj Palace, Shangri La, Le Meridien, The Ashok, Taj Mansingh and Leela Palace for round-the-clock surveillance; sandbagged gun emplacements have come up outside each hotel.
The President is expected to arrive in New Delhi on January 25 but some US officials have already checked into hotels. Obama is also bringing a special dog squad of 24 military-ranked dogs, each of whom will get a suite in the same hotel as the US President.
Luxury properties in the NCR – including the Oberoi and Trident in Gurgaon – are also completely booked to accommodate the rest of Obama’s delegation, including industry leaders and tycoons, said an industry source.
Sources said guests currently staying at the ITC Maurya – where Obama is expected to stay for the length of his three-day visit – have been asked to move out before January 26.
“There has been no confirmation but we are focusing on the ITC Maurya, Shangri La and Taj Palace. All seven hotels, however, are part of our security grid,” said a senior police official.
(With inputs from Snigdha Ahuja in HT City)